Performances of Metallic (sole, composite) and Non-Metallic Anodes to Harness Power in Sediment Microbial Fuel Cells

Haque, Niamul;Cho, Daechul;Kwon, Sunghyun

  • Received : 2014.09.04
  • Accepted : 2014.11.24
  • Published : 2014.12.31


One chambered sediment microbial fuel cell (SMFC) was equipped with Fe, brass (Cu/Zn), Fe/Zn, Cu, Cu/carbon cloth and graphite felt anode. Graphite felt was used as common cathode. The SMFC was membrane-less and mediator-less as well. Order of anodic performance on the basis of power density was Fe/Zn ($6.90Wm^{-2}$) > Fe ($6.03Wm^{-2}$) > Cu/carbon cloth ($2.13Wm^{-2}$) > Cu ($1.13Wm^{-2}$) > brass ($Cu/Zn=0.24Wm^{-2}$) > graphite felt ($0.10Wm^{-2}$). Fe/Zn composite anode have twisted 6.73% more power than Fe alone, Cu/carbon cloth boosted power production by 65%, and brass (Cu/Zn) produced 65% less power than Cu alone. Graphite felt have shown the lowest electricity generation because of its poor galvanic potential. The estuarine sediment served as supplier of oxidants or electron producing microbial flora, which evoked electrons via a complicated direct microbial electron transfer mechanism or making biofilm, respectively. Oxidation reduction was kept to be stationary over time except at the very initial period (mostly for sediment positioning) at anodes. Based on these findings, cost effective and efficient anodic material can be suggested for better SMFC configurations and stimulate towards practical value and application.


Bioelectricity;Biofilm;Composite anode;Microbial corrosion;Oxidation reduction potential;Sediment microbial fuel cell (SMFC)


  1. Kim BH, Kim HJ, Hyun MS, Park DH. Direct electrode reaction of Fe (III)-reducing bacterium, Shewanella puterfaciens. J. Microbial. Biotechn. 1999;9:127-131.
  2. Logan BE, Hamelers B, Rozendal R, et al. Microbial fuel cells: methodology and technology. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006;40:5181-5192.
  3. Rozendal RA, Buisman CJN. Process for producing hydrogen. 2005; Patent WO2005005981.
  4. Liu H, Grot S, Logan BE. Electrochemically assisted microbial production of hydrogen from acetate. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005;39:4317-4320.
  5. Kim HJ, Park HS, Hyun MS, Chang IS, Kim M, Kim BH. A mediator-less microbial fuel cell using a metal reducing bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens. Enzyme Microb. Tech. 2002;30:145-152.
  6. Jang JK, Pham TH, Chang IS, et al. Construction and operation of a novel mediator- and membrane-less microbial fuel cell. Process Biochem. 2004;39:1007-1012.
  7. Rabaey K, Boon N, Siciliano SD, Verhaege M, Verstraete W. Microbial phenazine poduction enhances electron transfer in biofuel cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005;39:3401-3408.
  8. Bond DR, Holmes DE, Tender LM, Lovely DR. Electrode reducing microorganisms harvesting energy from marine sediments. Science 2002;295:483-485.
  9. Gil GC, Chang IS, Kim BH, Kim M, Jang JK, Park HS, Kim HJ. Operational parameters affecting the performance of a mediator-less microbial fuel cell. Biosens. Bioelectron. 2003;18:327-334.
  10. Cheng S, Liu H, Logan BE. Increased power generation in a continuous flow MFC with advective flow through the porous anode and reduced electrode spacing. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006;40:2426-2432.
  11. Ostuni E, Chapman RG, Liang MN, et al. Self-assembled monolayers that resist the adsorption of proteins and the adhesion of bacterial and mammalian cells. Langmuir 2001;17:6336-6343.
  12. Borole AP, Hamilton CY, Vishnivetskaya TA, et al. Integrating engineering design improvements with exoelectrogen enrichment process to increase power output from microbial fuel cells. J. Power sources 2009;191:520-527.
  13. Zuo Y, Cheng S, Logan BE. Ion exchange membrane cathodes for scalable microbial fuel cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008;42:6967-6972.
  14. Dumas C, Mollica A, Feron D, Basseguy R, Etcheverry L, Bergel A. Marine microbial fuel cell: use of stainless steel electrodes as anode and cathode materials. Electrochem. Acta 2007;53:468-473.
  15. Tender LM, Reimers CE, Stecher HA, et al. Harnessing microbially generated power on the seafloor. Nat. Biotechnol. 2002;20:821-825.
  16. Akiba T, HP Bennetto HP, Stirling JL, and Tanaka K. Electricity production from alkalophilic organisms. Biotechnol. Lett. 1985;9:611-616.
  17. F Mansfeld. The interaction of bacteria and metal surfaces. Electrochim. Acta 2007;52:7670-7680.
  18. Ryckelinck N, Stecher III HA, Reimers C. Understanding the anodic mechanism of a seafloor fuel cell: interaction between geochemistry and microbial activity. Biochemistry 2005;76:113-139.
  19. F. Mansfeld, Hsu CH, Ornek D,Wood TK, Syrett BC. Corrosion control using regenerative biofilms (CCURB) on aluminum 2024 and brass in different media. New trends in electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and electrochemical noise analysis (ENA). The Electrochemical Society PV. 2000;24:99-118.
  20. Onek D, Jayaraman A,Wood TK, Sun Z, Hsu CH, Mansdfeld F, Corros. Sci. 2001;43:2121.
  21. Richter H. McCarthy K, Nevin KP, Johnson JP, Rotello VM, Lovley DR. Electricity generation by Geobacter sulfurreducens attached to gold electrodes. Langmuir 2008;24:4376-4379.
  22. Fan Y, Sharbrough E, Liu H. Quantification of the Internal Resistance Distrubution of Microbial Fuel Cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008;42:8101-8107.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Soonchunhyang University